Doubtless all the fanatics and Halo die hards (of which I am one) will rant and rave about this game. However, I've now had a chance to play the full retail version, and to be brutally honest, (and it pains me to say this), I'm afraid that Halo Reach is `The Emperor's New Game`.
I've been a massive fan of the Halo series, and have loved all the games, read the books etc, so I know my Halo. Don't get me wrong Halo Reach is a good game with a fabulous range of options, customization and loads of different and varied game types to keep you entertained for months if not years to come, however the game is not that much of a leap forward as some people would have led you to believe; infact, it does not feel a whole lot different to Halo 3.
Its also a pity that Bungie could not be bothered to optimize the game properly. The reason I say this is because of the DREADFUL FRAMERATES, if you like fluid, smooth and consistent frame rates then forget about this game, and dispel any notions you had of the contrary, furthermore the game features annoying effects to mask the attrocious framerate by including a bad motion blur that gives me a headache. Although technically proficient (the vistas and open spaces are stunning) the framerate takes a noticable dip during most of the encounters, particularly in open spaces, which destroys any sense of immersion for me, indeed, during some of the more intense gunfights, the game can be rendered nearly unplayable for a few seconds, and this is supposedly a new game engine!. I'm not saying it's a bad game by any means, its just something that some people may want to be aware of before buying. By all means if you like the Halo universe or first person shooters in general, then you should buy this, but you may well find yourself, like me, trading it for something else the following day.
To sum up, I can't help but feel that this was a missed opportunity, it could have been sooo much better had it not been for the rushed, sloppy programming, which frankly I feel is ridiculous in this day and age, and demonstrates an attitude of complacency and arrogance on the part of the developer , something I hope does not set a precedent for other developers to follow who may think that they too can somehow release below par quality games if its ok for Bungie to do so. Bring you're "A" game next time Bungie!!